EU Digital Tax Plan Will Prompt US Retaliation - Danish Finance Minister

09 November, 2018, 00:53 | Author: Regina Silva
  • French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks on tax issues at a joint hearing with lawmakers of the economic affairs committee and the special committee on financial crime at the European Parliament in Strasbourg France

Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe explained said his country's opposition to a digital services tax stems, in part, because of the bad precedent it would set for exporting and service economies. These companies have come in for criticism over the taxes they pay in European countries, and France just wants them to pay their fair share.

On Monday, Le Maire's German counterpart Olaf Scholz backed a European tax, but only if worldwide moves in the the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had failed by 2020.

"There must be the adoption of a directive on digital taxation by the end of the year", said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. The 2pc tax, revealed in the latest United Kingdom budget, will target revenues earned in the United Kingdom by online players ranging from search engines to social networks.

"There is no inconsistency with Mr. Scholz".

The change of tack comes after France and the European Commission first advocated a provisional bloc-wide solution until an global scheme is found at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which groups major world economies.

At a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, governments including Sweden, Denmark and Ireland said they opposed the proposed EU-wide tax because it could harm their competitiveness.

The tax has been championed by French president Emmanuel Macron as a way of appeasing voters' indignation at the low tax bills of large U.S. internet companies such as Amazon and Google, ahead of European Parliament elections next year.

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As unanimity is required to pass taxes, the levy could end up being shelved or drawn into negotiations between a smaller group of member states wishing to go it alone.

"The debate shows that we're moving in the right direction".

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, called for a global solution to the problem, warning against "unilateral action".

The EU proposal is also meant to stop other countries going it alone with their own digital tax and creating a patchwork of schemes across the continent.

The option to introduce the tax in 2021 was discussed at an informal finance ministers' meeting in September and will be addressed again at a meeting of the EU's Economic and Financial Affairs Council on Tuesday, sources told Handelsblatt.

Some EU member states such as Britain, Spain and Italy are working on national versions of a digital tax, with Singapore and India also planning their own schemes.

"It is very hard to see an agreement on the digital tax because so many technical issues are not solved yet", said Danish finance minister Kristian Jensen.

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